One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Jesus has taught us many lessons about prayer throughout this passage. He gave His disciples (and us) a prayer that can be recited, but it is also a guide for our communication with God. While the wording of the version in Luke may not be as familiar as the version in Matthew 6:9-13, we can see the same intent in both.
Indeed it seems Jesus intended us to pray this differently according to our needs and situations. God wants us to share what we feel about ourselves and our cares, our concern for others and the world. He wants our prayers to be personal. Praise and adoration using old familiar terms are not wrong, but a heartfelt expression of our joy, our pain and our desire to be close to God are said best in our own words.
Consider starting or ending your time with Him using The Lord’s Prayer, but including your own conversation with God as the body of your prayer. We know God is never surprised by what we ask and share, but when it comes from our lips and our hearts, it draws us closer to Him and enables us to wait patiently for His answer. As we have learned, there is never a wrong way or wrong time to pray, but we can grow in our faith through honest, personal prayer.
Heavenly Father, we are thankful that Jesus gave us an example to follow, in prayer and in life. Help us to love You better through time spent together, and let us better love our neighbor in response. Amen.